MICHAEL ANDRETTI, ...
MICHAEL ANDRETTI, # 6 Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford-Cosworth Lola
QUALIFYING POSITION: 4th (57.575)
"I tried to go out and get the pole but Roberto's strategy worked. I had one of the quickest splits up until he spun. We had a good lap going. I think it would have been enough to get pole. Now the next goal is to get through turn one okay and ahead of everyone else. What a shame. We had a good one (lap) going. It will be a fuel mileage race and Roberto is looking good. He'll try to finish the race in two stops. He's making a serious bid for the Championship. The Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline has a good race set-up so we need to run a good race strategy wise. It will definitely be exciting."
Andretti has won one race (1991) and one pole (1989) and has scored six podium finishes. Of his 39 victories, 25 have come on a road/street course. This will be his 16th start at Cleveland. Has led in six of his 15 Cleveland races. Last year, Andretti drove to a third place finish despite a penalty for speeding in the pits. He has led 101 of his 6,160 total CART laps led at Cleveland. * NOTE2: Retired Philadelphia Flyer National League Hockey player, Tim Kerr, is a guest of Andretti this weekend. Kerr is one of the all-time leading scorers for the Flyers. Andretti, an avid hockey fan, is a partial owner of the Lehigh Valley Extreme (UHL) in Lehigh Valley, Pa., and is a Flyers fan.
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford-Cosworth Lola
QUALIFYING POSITION: 13th (57.941)
"Basically, it was a lack of performance. We did not figure out a good set-up for the car but it will be a long race tomorrow. On Friday morning, I thought we would be in the hunt when we were second fastest but we didn't keep up at the end of the day. In qualifying, the car was jumping all over the place. The back end was poor. We improved from yesterday but obviously not enough. This is always an interesting race so I hope we can work our way to the front and have some breaks go our way."
Fittipaldi was third fastest in the first group (of two) in final qualifying but dropped to 13th place at the conclusion of the second session. He has led a total of 23 laps in Cleveland (21 in 1998 and 2 in 1997). His highest finish in Cleveland is sixth. He is looking for his second Street/Road course victory after scoring his maiden CART victory at Road America race in 1999. He led the 1997 event but his airjack broke, dropping him to a sixth place finish. He was leading the 1998 event when a yellow came out and he was immediately called into the pits but his radio was not working on the part of the track near the pit entrance. The rest of the field pitted but Fittipaldi was forced to stay on course and hope for another caution that ultimately did not come. He finished 11th after leading 21 laps. The rain soaked 1999 event was Fittipaldi's (self-proclaimed) worst event of the season due to spinning on slick tires while trying to get into the pits for grooved tires. He also spun in front of teammate Andretti and almost made contact with him as well as spun entering his pit box. He went two laps down due to the problem. Entering the event, he was the only driver to have completed every lap and was a strong championship contender. He left Cleveland (9th event in 1999) still having led the most laps and did so until he missed the 13th of 20 events due to a testing accident caused by a transmission failure.